REJOICE: Norths celebrate their their qualifying final victory over Magpies.
REJOICE: Norths celebrate their their qualifying final victory over Magpies. Marty Strecker Photography

Underdogs Norths team reveals secret weapon for final game

NORTHS coach Marco Peters called on a familiar face to light the finals fire in his side ahead of tomorrow's under-15 decider.

Mackay Cutters CEO Maurie Fatnowna made a surprise visit to training last week, off the back of Norths' 24-10 loss to Wanderers in the major semi-final, to impress upon the young group the importance of teamwork and resilience.

"We were really up for it against Wanderers. We were building to it. But they played a style of game we haven't confronted this year," Peters recalled.

"The boys were a bit disheartened, so we didn't train.

"I got Maurie down to talk about resilience, teamwork and just having each other's back."

Peters called on all his coaching experience to get his players back in high spirits. A game of touch football on the Tuesday night took some of the pressure off their shoulders.

"We got them back to understanding why they love playing. It's only football," the coach said.

Rising to the top

FROM second-last in 2018 to a grand final berth in their current campaign, this Norths group has come a long way in a short period of time.

While his core group remained, Peters opened the doors to players from other clubs who "weren't superstars anywhere else" but immediately made an impact in the Devils' red and white.

"They came over and just wanted to play footy," Peters said.

"We've always had our one rep player, Zak Springer. He's been our captain the whole way through.

"But this year we've been able to develop more rep players: Pethyias Hooper, John Wailu, Kyetonn Boah ... we've had some guys really develop over the last 12-18 months."

Queensland schoolboys representative Brady Hazeldine was another welcome addition to the Norths line-up this season after relocating from Moranbah.

Schoolboy rivalries put on hold

DURING his training visit, Fatnowna pointed out an interesting fact which had to that point escaped Peters.

"He noticed straight away that we're a team made up of kids from nearly all of the schools in Mackay," Peters said.

"Milton, Northern Beaches, North High, Pioneer, Holy Spirit, Mercy ... all the different schools have come together to play for Norths under-15s," he said.

"They've all come from different backgrounds and combined well as a new team to do a job."

Embracing underdog status

PETERS knows his team is not expected to win.

But Norths can be buoyed in the knowledge they have climbed that mountain before.

"Wanderers I think have been beaten once in the last three years," Peters said.

"But we're the only team to have defeated them - our first game this year."



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